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Abstract Title: Do Advanced Students Learn from Their Mistakes without Explicit Intervention?
Abstract: One attribute of physics experts is that they learn from their own mistakes while solving physics problems.  Experts are unlikely to make the same mistakes when asked to solve a problem a second time especially if they had access to the correct solution after their initial unsuccessful attempt. Here, we discuss a case study which explores if advanced physics students use the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.  The performance on the final exam shows a wide distribution of students' performance on problems administered a second time, which suggests that many advanced students may not automatically exploit their mistakes as an opportunity for learning, and repairing, extending, and organizing their knowledge structure. We also conduct individual interviews with a subset of students to obtain a better insight into students' attitude towards problem-solving and learning and to understand how well students are able to retrieve knowledge relevant for solving the problems.

This study is supported by the National Science Foundation.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Andrew J. Mason
University of Pittsburgh Department of Physics and Astronomy
100 Allen Hall, University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-867-8294
and Co-Presenter(s)
Chandralekha Singh, University of Pittsburgh Department of Physics and Astronomy